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Bulls survive late Crusaders charge to win thriller

Date

David Legge

BULLS 32 CRUSADERS 30

Crusaders winger Sean Maitland crashes into the Bulls defence.

Crusaders winger Sean Maitland crashes into the Bulls defence. Photo: AFP

PRETORIA: The Bulls survived a late Crusaders onslaught to triumph 32-30 on Saturday in a thrilling Super Rugby clash of former champions.

MATCH STATS

The home team recovered from an early 10-point deficit to lead by 16 points with 10 minutes remaining before a vocal holiday crowd at the Loftus Versfeld fortress of the three-time title holders.

But seven-time champions Crusaders hit back with winger Zac Guildford crossing for a try Dan Carter converted and replacement back Tom Taylor having another try disallowed before Tom Marshall raced in and Carter converted again.

That left just two points between the southern hemisphere provincial giants and as the hooter sounded for time, Crusaders found themselves with the ball but inside their 22-metre line.

Retaining possession under fierce pressure and receiving two penalties, the visitors forced their way to the halfway line before surrendering possession and a relieved replacement scrum-half Jano Vermaak booted the ball into touch.

Bulls ended with only 40 per cent possession in a match of three phases, but their superiority for the first 30 minutes of the second half reaped 23 points with master goal kicker Morne Steyn in top form.

The Springbok fly-half succeeded with eight of 10 shots at the posts -- two conversions and six penalties -- and his perfectly weighted chip kick set up centre Wynand Olivier for the Bulls second try.

Prop Dean Greyling scored the other four minutes into the second half as he collected a pass from flank CJ Stander, sold a dummy any back would have been proud of and dived over for only his second Super 15 touchdown.

Crusaders retained possession superbly throughout the first half and would not have been flattered by a bigger half-time lead than 13-9, but added just three points before their late scoring surge.

Star fly-half Dan Carter, making his second start after a lengthy injury lay-off that sidelined him during the triumphant All Blacks march to the 2011 Rugby World Cup title, missed four kicks out of seven at goal.

He converted tries by skipper and eighthman Kieran Read, Guildford and Marshall, kicked a penalty and a drop goal and replacement Tom Taylor succeeded with his one penalty attempt.

Crusaders, who defeated lowly Golden Lions in Johannesburg last weekend, return home for a third consecutive clash with a South African side as leaders Western Stormers visit Christchurch while Bulls are away to the Lions.

BULLS 32 (Dean Greyling, Wynand Olivier tries Morne Steyn 2 cons 6 pens) bt CRUSADERS 30 (Zac Guildford, Tom Marshall, Kieran Read tries Daniel Carter 3 cons Carter, Tom Taylor pens drop goal) at Loftus Versfeld. Referee: Jaco Peyper.

AFP

Rugby Internationals 2014

Round 1
Sat, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 18 vs TGA 18 Report Stats
FJI 25 vs ITA 14 Report Stats
NZL 20 vs ENG 15 Report Stats
AUS 50 vs FRA 23 Report Stats
Sun, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 47 vs WXV 13 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 29 Report Stats
USA 6 vs SCO 24 Report Stats
CAN 25 vs JPN 34 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sat, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 15 vs ITA Report Stats
FJI 45 vs TGA 17 Report Stats
NZL 28 vs ENG 27 Report Stats
AUS 6 vs FRA Report Stats
Sun, 15 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 38 vs WAL 16 Report Stats
CAN 17 vs SCO 19 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 23 Report Stats
USA 29 vs JPN 37 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Sat, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
ARG 19 vs SCO 21 Report Stats
FJI 13 vs SAM 18 Report Stats
JPN 26 vs ITA 23 Report Stats
AUS 39 vs FRA 13 Stats
NZL 36 vs ENG 13 Report Stats
Sun, 22 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 31 vs WAL 30 Report Stats
USA 38 vs CAN 35 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 4
Sun, 29 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 55 vs SCO 6 Report Stats
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Round 5
Sun, 02 NovTimes shown AEDT
BAR 36 vs AUS 40 Report Stats
USA 6 vs NZL 74 Report Stats
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Round 6
Sun, 09 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 24 vs SAM 13 Report Stats
ENG 21 vs NZL 24 Report Stats
WAL 28 vs AUS 33 Report Stats
FRA 40 vs FJI 14 Report Stats
IRE 29 vs RSA 15 Report Stats
SCO 41 vs ARG 31 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 7
Sun, 16 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 18 vs ARG 20 Report Stats
ENG 28 vs RSA 31 Report Stats
WAL 17 vs FJI 13 Report Stats
SCO 16 vs NZL 24 Report Stats
FRA 29 vs AUS 26 Report Stats
Mon, 17 NovTimes shown AEDT
IRE 49 vs GEO 7 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 8
Sun, 23 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 6 vs RSA 22 Report Stats
SCO 37 vs TGA 12 Report Stats
IRE 26 vs AUS 23 Report Stats
WAL 16 vs NZL 34 Report Stats
ENG 28 vs SAM 9 Report Stats
FRA 13 vs ARG 18 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 9
Sun, 30 NovTimes shown AEDT
ENG 26 vs AUS 17 Report Stats
WAL 12 vs RSA 6 Report Stats
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